Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oh, Ditto

About 20 years ago, I got my master's degree in teaching. I passed the teacher's exam and am certified to teach grades K-8. Have I ever taught, other than student teaching? No. Unless you count Sunday school or substitute teachng, which is teaching but not a full-fledged teacher.

It's been quite a while, but I do remember some of the things I learned. Now that R, the 5 year old, is in Kindergarten, I find myself tapping some of that information.

R goes to a full-day Kindergarten and comes home with homework every night. Homework consists of ditto sheets which, presumably, reinforce the day's lessons. Homework at this age was unsettling at first. He's in school all day. Does he really need more work after school? But homework is not my issue.

Ditto sheets. What to say about all these ditto sheets R brings home? I loathe them. I was taught to loathe them while getting my master's degree. They're busy work. They're not a learning tool. Hands-on, interactive methods were supposedly the best ways to get a child to learn a concept.

I have stacks and stacks of ditto sheets that come home from school with R on a daily basis. Not only are they used for homework purposes, apparently they're used in the classroom for teaching purposes as well.

Okay, maybe I'm being too critical. After all, I grew up on ditto sheets and I'm pretty smart. When you go online, you can find lots of print-outs as instructional aides. However, I tend to check the copyright dates of the ditto sheets that come home, just out of curiosity. I'd like to think my son's teachers are keeping up to date. Well . . .

One of R's ditto sheets yesterday was dated 1972. That's correct, not a typo. 1972. This, in my opinion, is unacceptable. There is no reason that a teacher should be using teaching tools from 40 years ago.

I'm not sure where the blame lies. The teacher, the principal, or the school board. Shame on the teacher for using something from 40 years ago. Shame on the principal for approving this lesson plan. Shame on the board for setting a curriculum that allows the use of ditto sheets as teaching tools - outdated or not.

In this day and age of computers and iPads, dittos are an antiquated teaching technique. I don't live in a particularly wealthy district, but I do pay very high taxes. I expect more from my child's school. I intend to take this up with the principal and the superintendent. My children deserve better . . . and so do yours!


  1. wow, I totally agree with you. That seems like a ridiculous and somewhat lazy thing for a K teacher to do! Sadly there is probably not much you can do about it though. Homework in K seems like overkill to me.

  2. Wow, you're knowledge goes way over my head. But it sounds like God's got you in the right place at the right time. Godspeed.